Friday, August 16, 2013

City Hall

City Hall during Taste of Buffalo 2013
So, I think everyone knows that City Hall is pretty amazing. But how many people have gone inside? Looked out at the city from the Observation Deck? It's one of my must-do items when showing visitors around. I usually bring people up there on my own but I did go on a tour with Buffalo Tours once. They happen every weekday at noon and are FREE - check out the details here.

I lived in the UK for a short time and traveled just a bit, and I would always look for chances like this to get up high and see whichever city I was visiting spread out below me. It's a really unique perspective of a given place and usually free or cheap to do.

Main lobby wall and ceiling
Back in Buffalo, one awesome part of my job is occasionally leading "field trips" for refugee clients to see the view from the Observation Deck. It's a nice way for them to see the size and geography of their new city. It's often just as impressive to them that they are allowed access to the main government building in the city, since many of them have recently arrived from situations where the government had absolute power. I'm very lucky that, among other things, I get to see our civic structures with eyes other than my own.

One of the views from up top - nice mix of architecture
One man I know had to hide by the side of the road if someone else passed by because he was low caste and it wasn't proper to inflict the sight of him on someone held to be his better. I've seen him learn to look people in the eye, and I remember standing at the top of City Hall with him and a group of clients who were learning about what the building was. When I explained that the mayor was in the building at the same time as we were, that man just shook his head disbelievingly and chuckled. 
The Liberty Building, welcoming people coming to Buffalo from land or water

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taste of Buffalo 2013

We all have them - events you always hear about and think "I would love to check that out sometime" and then the day arrives and you don't make it out. Taste of Buffalo was one of those for me. 

I recruited a friend and we explored it this year. I was very pleased with our experience because 1) it was a lovely day for a festival, 2) downtown full of people is the best, 3) delicious food everywhere, 4) we caught a tour up to the top of City Hall to look down on the festivities, and 5) We stopped by the Statler lobby bar on our way out. Buffalo List success!

I love being in busy parts of cities when there are tons of people around. Just stepping out onto the street in NYC makes me light up like you wouldn't believe. In Buffalo I've found a similar feeling, but unique in my experience. The times I've been around big crowds here have been when everyone is there just to enjoy themselves and enjoy what the event has to offer. People aren't rushing around stressed; they're strolling with their friends or sitting under trees with their dogs and savoring the moment. I like that, and I like sharing in that. Also, NYC is always a train-ride away when I need it.

Yes, I took this picture. No, you don't want to know how. ;-)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mark your calendars - August 2013

I am involved in several events in the next few months and I want you all to have time to get them on your calendars. I'm volunteering in various ways to help make these events possible and I would love to see you there enjoying them!

This is part of my philosophy of investing in your community - when you spend your time and money on something you become a part of it in a totally new way. I didn't fully realize that until until recently, when "an event" changed to "my event." Observing a cool event or a sensational nonprofit isn't enough. Do whatever you feel you can to get involved. Those of you who already are involved, you know much enjoyment you get from taking part. Those who are looking to expand what you are involved in, what excites you? Is someone already doing it? Should you start it? Anything is possible in Buffalo. :-)

Date: Saturday August 17th
Event: City of Night
Organization: (none - put on by ELAB)
Time: 4:00pm to 2:00am
Cost: FREE

          Date: Saturday August 24th
          Event: Show How: A Night of How-To
          Organization: Communify Buffalo
          Time: 6:00pm to 9:00pm
          Cost: $10 (or $8 with canned good)

         Date: Tuesday August 27th
               Event: Moondance Cat Harbor Cruise Fundraiser
               Organization: Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo
               Time: 4:00pm to 5:30pm (arrive early!)
               Cost: $50
                        moondance-cat- fundraiser

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Shakespeare in Delaware Park

Well, it didn't take long for me to fall behind on posting about my adventures. I guess the good news is that I've managed to do a ton of fun things recently on top of all my other commitments.

I've been to Shakespeare in Delaware Park several times so far, mostly because I'm a Shakespeare fanatic. That and, oh yes, because live theatre, performed by the side of a lake, which is BYOB, and is free...well, that's just all sorts of awesome.
This year's production of Hamlet was one of the best theatre productions I have ever seen. The actors were phenomenal and everything was just right. It doesn't hurt that Hamlet is just about my favorite Shakespeare play ever written. I saw it with my friend, who co-directed a Shakespeare play with me in college. I was hesitant about the show being so long, but we were mesmerized the whole time and would have stayed twice as long. 

I love the vibe at Shakespeare in the Park. Hundreds of people come just because they enjoy it, and you can relax in bare feet with a beer if you want, or talk to a nice grandma with her little dog, or both. We had perfect, mild summer weather (July 12th) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Make sure that when you go, you donate at intermission. It's technically free but I want to see them around another 38 years!